Q&A: Star Wars Retro Figures, Malls, Filler

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 4, 2021

1. In 2019, we got the "A New Hope" Retro figures.

In 2020, it was Empire.

This year, we're getting The Mandalorian, because it's the hottest Star Wars property now.

Next year, will we get back to the original trilogy and finish it up with Jedi?

If so, will the line continue with some Power of the Force and/or Droids figures?

As of my writing this I don't know what will follow The Mandalorian wave. If I were running the line, I'd probably do more The Mandalorian figures and carry forward some wave one guys alongside a new Mando, at least one new Boba Fett, some mass-release Troopers, maybe even 1983 Jedi Luke - who could be repackaged again later - and R2-D2 - who could also be repackaged/redecorated later. Mixing in sensible classic guys with new Mando guys, with a focus on the streaming show, would probably be the best way to maximize profits and make the most people happy.

I'd also love them to do some of the unproduced cartoon Ewoks figures - they're right up there with Vlix, but not Vlix - but I doubt it. Hasbro has shown a bizarre reluctance to tackle the super-awesome coin-carded figures of 1985 and I don't know why. Replace it with a POG for all I care - it's still a good-looking package.

It wouldn't be hyperbole to say there are a ton of awesome figures to do from the old days... and just as many duds. Anyone holding out hope that Hasbro will do the entire original vintage line is probably delusional, as it has been 26 years and Kenner/Hasbro never gave us updates of the mustache Bespin Security Guard or the 1985 Imperial Dignitary. And for whatever reason we haven't seen a new EV-989 since 1998, which was basically a toned-down repro of the 1985 figure too.

It would be stupendous to see them do packages of retro figures mixing in grails with duds, but I doubt we'll ever see it. Heck, there are still prequels left to do. Mando and The Book of Boba Fett are probably the best places to go - and it would also be potentially satisfying to see if Hasbro can position The Retro Collection as the kid line. After all, at $9.99 a whack it's the cheapest figural offering you can get these days.



Ad: Stuff at Entertainment Earth!
Star Wars The Black Series 6-Inch Action Figures Bundle of 3 X-Men Retro Marvel Legends 6-Inch Deadpool Figure Spider-Man Marvel Legends Web-Man Action Figure - Exclusive Pop Culture M.U.S.C.L.E. Mini-Figures Bundle of 11 Sets Masters of the Universe MUSCLE Mini-Figures Bundle of 9 Capcom M.U.S.C.L.E. Mini-Figures Bundle of 9 Figure Sets WWE The Rock with Championship Belt Pop! Vinyl - EE Excl. Gargoyles Ultimate Goliath 7-Inch Scale Action Figure Neon Genesis Evangelion Rei Plugsuit 8-Inch Plush Star Wars: The Clone Wars Anakin Pop! Vinyl Figure #271 Star Wars The Black Series Zeb Orrelios 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Black Series Sith Jet Trooper 6-Inch Figure Star Wars The Black Series Count Dooku 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars Black Series Anakin Skywalker AOTC Action Figure Star Wars Black Series Knight of Ren 6-Inch Action Figure Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege Titan Omega Supreme Star Wars The Vintage Collection 2020 Action Figures Wave 5 Star Wars The Retro Collection Action Figures Wave 1 Case Star Wars The Black Series Darth Maul (Sith Apprentice) Star Wars Black Series Luke Skywalker & Ysalamiri Figures Star Wars The Black Series Jaxxon 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Black Series Kir Kanos 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Black Series Wrecker 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Black Series Bad Batch Crosshair 6-Inch Figure Star Wars The Black Series Clone Hunter 6-Inch Action Figure


2. There weren't enough questions this week. Why don't you write some filler about that closing mall?

Last year, Phoenix lost Metrocenter Mall to time (and COVID-19, but mostly time.) It was flailing for years and finally gave in to destiny - and just under a year later, Paradise Valley Mall is breathing its last. Metrocenter Mall got a surprising amount of fanfare in local papers and think pieces online, whereas Paradise Valley Mall just seems to be quietly going away before destruction and redevelopment starts - possibly within the next month. More luxury apartments and condos are on deck, which seems increasingly ridiculous.

Paradise Valley Mall was pretty great - at the height of its powers it had everything you could want. Heck, even in its early days it was great - before it got a Kay-Bee Toys in the 1990s, it had a Toys By Roy (which nobody remembers) and the other mall staples - your Warehouse, your Miller's Outpost, and so on and so forth. Hobby Bench was not only a great craft store, but it had a good action figure selection and a surprisingly good chunk of import model kits. I even found Japanese Zoids there in the late 1980s, which as a kid was mind-blowing.

After college I was lucky enough to have a job that let me do the unthinkable and live across the street from it - I could walk to a library, Atomic Comics, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Bookstar, Borders Books, Cafe Kobe, and that was just some of the stuff in orbit of the mall. (Of those, only Target and Best Buy remain.) Inside was a treasure trove of plastic toys, video games, movie theaters, Pizza D'Amore, and other long-gone goodies. You could find toys in numerous non-toy stores, and there were lots of fun things to keep you busy between Suncoast, Sam Goody, and whatever new surprises popped up - like a Toys R Us outlet during the holidays.

On Friday, I popped in the Dillard's and bought some cheap tables to display some large toys. On Saturday we went back to see what was left - in addition to Dillard's, it was just Bath & Body Works and JC Penny. Everything else was gone, blocked off. The Hot Topic that was open not two weeks ago and didn't even have "going out of business" signs up yet is vacant, as is everything else. It's kind of funny, in that I thought the shopping malls would be the last things standing, long after I moved away or was otherwise gone. I saw all five Disney Star Wars movies in the theater there, not to mention countless films growing up.

In a couple of years, it'll be another giant block of apartments, to go with the other giant towers of apartments downtown next to Modified Arts (formerly dirt lots.) The lack of expansion of commerce just shows how much we've moved online in the past few years, and as a part of that ecommerce I still thoroughly enjoy toy runs. I haven't been on many for the last 14 months, mostly because it's increasingly just been Targets and Walmarts without the other Toys R Us, Zany Brainy, ToyCo, or other weirdo places to find things. Hopefully the uptick in residential means an uptick in new and weird stores, mostly because even as an industry insider I still found out about some things by tripping over them on a store's shelf. It never stops being interesting, but the obsessive trudging through malls and shopping centers has increasingly proven fruitless.

We'll miss you, Paradise Valley Mall.





Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: Eric, JT, Bobb, David, Galvatim, Christopher, Robert, Marco, Dan, Stephen, Matthew, Jayson, Shawn, Todd, Kristine, Mario, and Jeremy! Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



Be sure you send in your questions for next time. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in.

Hasbro didn't go to New York Toy Fair this year, because there wasn't one - and the replacement event was also wisely cancelled. There will be a Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest thing this week, though, with lots of reveals and announcements on Friday. Please look forward to it.

Disney+ released Ewoks - cartoons and movies - last week. I'm going to slow-drip watch it, because it very much is a product of its time. I watched the first one, which I remember vividly from when it first aired. Sound effects were a mix of Ben Burtt's work and traditional animation bonks and such, the Dulok Shaman is basically Starscream from The Transformers, Aunt Bozzie is the prototype for Karen stereotypes everywhere, and the whole thing is basically Care Bears after someone read The Hobbit. It's a little too cutesy and not terribly funny, but it's a joy to see something like that, with the original music intact, and - I think - no obvious edits. I am not advising you to watch the whole thing, but it's a wonderful artifact of what then seemed like the final days of Star Wars. If you're young, you may not know this, but Star Wars effectively vanished from public view (outside Disney parks) from 1986-1991. You could go to stores and not see anything from the movies. It's almost unthinkable today - no matter where you go, you'll probably see glassware, t-shirts, some toys, a hat, or something.

But back to the Ewoks, it's kind of amazing to see a bunch of stuff taken out of the vault - this means almost all the 1980s Star Wars you cold want can be watched right now. Currently missing: original edits of the original trilogy, all of the Droids cartoon and The Great Heep special, and of course the live-action segments of The Star Wars Holiday Special. But the rest? It's there. I also have very little memory of the second season of Ewoks as I didn't tape it, so this should be a shock to the system when I get to it. I'm thrilled they put it up to be seen again - but it doesn't have Boba Fett, or Stormtroopers, or IG-88, like Droids.

Hopefully they're just holding it back for a future release and not keeping it away because of some continuity issue. Or license issue with music. Or, you know, someone out there just doesn't love it as much as I do. (That can't be possible, can it?)

I am working on something that may be showing up for you guys later this week. We're moving forward by going backward.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.



I'm on Instagram! All Pictures from a GameBoy Camera.